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UO administration to train “free speech” observers to monitor future protests

Full disclosure update: For all I know this program is a noble one. See the comments. But the provenance and timing is suspicious, I don’t have the $1,000 Dave Hubin would presumably charge me to seen the public records that would establish this, and he’d redact them anyway.

11/24/2014: My first reaction was that this flyer must be a joke. But I was told it was sent to UO Law students, and it does fit with Johnson Hall’s increasing bunker paranoia, so I checked out the URL. Sure enough, it leads to the Office of Student Life, run by VP Robin Holmes and Paul Shang, who were on the receiving end of a fair amount of free speech during the basketball rape allegation coverup protests.

Now they want to recruit UO staff and students to observe “protests, rallies and demonstrations on the UO campus” to “protect freedom of speech”.

Because there’s nothing that protects your freedom of speech like knowing there’s a paid snitch ($11 an hour) taking videos and names. If you know anything more about this program, or are familiar with how the Stasi dealt with protestors, please post a comment.

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  1. anonymous 11/24/2014

    If you work or study at UO, wouldn’t that by definition mean that you aren’t a “neutral” observer?

    • Anonymous 11/24/2014

      War is peace! Freedom is slavery! Spying is neutrality!

  2. Working GTF 11/24/2014

    Two quick notes:

    1.) It’s not clear this entirely problematic, one might want a NO their if UOPD becomes involved.

    2.) It’s an old program in Law & CRES, but the timing here is certainly auspicious.

    Also, it’s illegal to photograph or video anyone on a picket line, so in the event of strike, if anyone sees this happening, it should immediately be reported to the picket captain on that line.

    • Huh? 11/24/2014

      Can I get a link that says it’s illegal to photograph someone on a picket line?

    • Anas Clypeata 11/24/2014

      Are you talking about the United States?

      Taking photographs while standing on public property is broadly protected in the US. Here’s some basic reading on the subject:

      • Working GTF 11/25/2014

        Sorry, should have clarified. Photographs and video can’t be taken for purposes of taking attendance, etc.

        Obviously journalistic freedoms apply.

  3. Working GTF 11/24/2014

    Gah. There. Suspicious. Grading has rotted my brain.

  4. Oryx 11/24/2014

    There’s a similar program at Berkeley. It started in the 60’s with the aim of keep an eye on the police and national guard, and I think it’s been done (with the same aims) elsewhere as well. It’s a good idea especially at a university, like ours, with armed police. I have no connection with this program, and only learned about it here at UO five minutes ago, but I hope your paranoid post doesn’t scare people away from it.

    • uomatters Post author | 11/24/2014

      Thanks for that info, lot of paranoia on all sides, to be sure!

  5. slstudentemployee 11/24/2014

    Conflict resolution services has done this stuff for awhile. And while a part of the Dean of students office in the division of student life it honestly is not a tool of robin or the admin. I would really encoutage you to edit/delete this post because I don’t want the program to get a bad rap.

    • uomatters Post author | 11/24/2014

      Thanks – Do you know if these observers been showing up at the demonstrations this year, and filing reports?

  6. Chaucer Expert 11/24/2014

    $11 an hour seems low, when the Math department is offering english majors $15 to grad finals for Intro to Diff Equations. Whatever that is.

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